Why is My Toe Nail Turning Purple?
Discoloration of the toenails is a common condition that affects many people. While it may not seem concerning, it’s important to understand what could be causing a change in nail color, especially when it turns purple. This article will explain the most common reasons for purple toenails and provide tips on when to see a doctor.
Why is my toe nail turning purple?
The most likely culprit causing a purple toenail is bruising underneath the nail. Trauma from stubbing your toe or nails being squeezed inside shoes are common causes of bruising. The purple/blue discoloration comes from blood collecting under the nail after an injury. This type of bruise-related discoloration is generally nothing to worry about and the color will fade as the injury heals.
Other potential causes
While bruising is usually harmless, there are a few other potential underlying causes you should be aware of:
Fungal infection (onychomycosis) – A fungal infection of the nail plate or skin around the nail can cause discoloration ranging from yellow to greenish-black. This is a common issue that may require antifungal treatment.
Psoriasis – People with psoriasis sometimes develop discolored, thickened nails that are often pitted or ridged in appearance. See a dermatologist for evaluation and treatment options.
Melanoma – Rarely, a dark purple or black discoloration can be a sign of melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer, developing under the nail. See a doctor immediately for evaluation if the discoloration is asymmetrical or changing rapidly.
When to see a doctor
For most cases of bruise-related toenail discoloration, no treatment is needed and the color should fade over time. However, be sure to see a doctor if:
– The discoloration is accompanied by pain, swelling, or tenderness in the nail or surrounding skin
– The color change affects multiple nails simultaneously rather than an isolated injury
– The color is darkening or spreading rather than resolving
– Other concerning symptoms are present like changes in the nail shape or thickness
In summary, a purple toenail is usually nothing to panic over and simply indicates minor trauma underneath. But certain discoloration patterns or associated symptoms could signify a fungal or other medical issue requiring treatment. Pay attention to nail changes and see a doctor promptly if you have concerns to rule out any serious condition.